Grazing in Old Testament Pastures

Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deuteronomy ...

Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deuteronomy 6:1-15, illustration from a Bible card published 1907 by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the greatest blessings of my illness has been the opportunity that it affords me, for study of the Bible.  Right now I am doing a self-study of a survy of the Old Testament.  It has been a while, since I focused on the Old Testament and I am finding much of the experiences of Israel in her escape from Egypt, and wilderness wanderings that is applicable and paralell to my own present uncertainties in life.

It is always a joy to discover links between one part of the Bible and the other, and have the big picture come together.  I am learning the paralells between Hebrews and Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Acts, Joshua and Ephesians, for example.   I’m seeing both in life and in the Bible, how God trains us in hardship in preparation for going in and posessing the inheritance He has for us.

In the pages of the Old Testament I see the way God will keep us in a trial, or keep returning us to it, until we learn what it is He has for us to learn.  I see again and again how He rewards obedience, and chastises disobedience.  I see Him training His people until they become disgusted with their own foolishness and they finally trust Him utterly.

I see how we often settle for less than is our privilege, in the way that 10 of the 12 spies at Kadesh-barnea did not believe God when He told them He would give them a great victory, and ended up wandering in the wilderness one year for each of their 40 days of unbelief, and how those ten did not ultimately go in and inherit the land.  Yet Joshua and Caleb, who believed God, eventually did.  I wonder what I may have missed out on that God has for me, because of my own unbelief?

Reading the story of Israel, condensed in those pages, it is easy to see their faithlessness and wonder at how they kept repeating the same stupid mistakes.  But how blind I can be to that same pattern in my own life.  I like to think I have learned something and moved beyond a certain lesson, but the truth is, I will do well to always bear in mind the warning: “let him who thinks he standeth, take heed lest he fall”.   I do fall, often.   So it is great comfort to read of God’s love, mercy and longsuffering wth Israel.

Studying the Bible is a little like hunting for buried treasure.  The more you get in there an dig around, the more you find.  The more you find, the more excited you get about finding more!

Proverbs 2

My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.

9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.

10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;

11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:

12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;

13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;

14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;

15 Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:

16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;

17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.

18 For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.

19 None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.

20 That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.

21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.

22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.